The Czech story Custody bill aims to protect kids: Kidnapping cases show a vague interpretation of international law (The Prague Post, 7/25/07) is pro-feminist mainstream journalism at its finest. The mother is wrong in practically every aspect of this case, yet the article portrays her as a heroic victim. Worse–but typical–the case has helped prompt the Czech government to come up with legislation to help mothers in this position, even though she’s wrong.
In the case, a Czech woman married an Argentine man and they lived in Argentina together. Apparently they became estranged (though they’re still married) and the woman asked the man’s permission to take the children back to the Czech Republic for a visit. We all know what happens next–she left but didn’t return the kids, instead staying in the Czech Republic.
The father demanded that the children–a six year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy–be returned to him. Normally mothers get away with this–they normally get away with practically anything, actually–but this case was different. Remarkably, the Czech government actually did the right thing, taking the kids away and returning them to their father in Argentina. The mother was convicted of kidnapping the children.
The mother offered the usual song and dance about the kids suffering from being away from her–conveniently ignoring that she is the one who created the problem to begin with. She also ignores how she hurt the kids by taking them away from their father, though she won’t admit it.
Such international parental kidnappings are anything but rare, and men are usually the targets. Some examples include:
1) The Gary S. case, in which an American soldier deployed in Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 had his children internationally-abducted with the complicity of a California family court. To learn more, see my column The Betrayal of the Military Father (Los Angeles Daily News, 5/4/03)
2) The Brad Carlson case, in which an Army reservist’s three children were de facto parentally kidnapped to Luxembourg while he was deployed in Kuwait in 2003. To learn more, see Pauline Arrillaga’s Deployed Troops Battle for Child Custody (Associated Press, 5/5/07).
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